This is the second of the two articles in which the twin boys Mark and Pete choose an activity that they would like to do, and give a little potted history of the subject. In the first article Mark describes how the Wright brothers achieved powered flight and how the sport of skydiving followed. In this article Pete, who chose an underwater dive, talks about scuba diving and how this popular activity can be used for both leisure and professional purposes.

Diving was already popular before the 1940s but involved heavy diving suits and a means of pumping air to the diver through a tube connected to the surface. If this wasn’t an option then people either held their breath or used a snorkel. The latter two methods meant that deep or long dives were impossible; the former meant the diver had limited manoeuvrability due to the cumbersome suit.

The 1940s saw the development of the aqua-lung or Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, known by the acronym SCUBA, which has now become synonymous with the activity itself. This apparatus enabled the diver to undertake much longer dives, no longer constrained by the suit, he could move around freely in the water. He could also propel himself along with flippers worn on the feet or be pulled along by an underwater vehicle.

A whole new world was opened up to underwater explorers, some people grouped together to form diving clubs. They would go together on expeditions to see marine wildlife up close, or dive to a shipwreck. Indeed some wrecks have been sunk on purpose just for divers to explore, although over time they have also attracted sea creatures and plants to colonise them giving added interest.

There are many jobs that a professional diver can do, for example both the police and fire service employ teams of frogmen. These are deployed whenever a body of water needs to be searched for evidence or human remains. They are also on hand to rescue people trapped by floods or rising water.

Scientists and marine biologists study underwater life and therefore need to be able to dive themselves or employ underwater film crews to capture wildlife activity that can then be used in the study. Some footage is filmed from a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) when the site is too deep for human divers to be used.

A North Sea diver has a very demanding job as they have to work in very low temperatures to service and repair the supporting parts of an oil-rig that are always completely submerged. For this reason they are very highly paid.

Of course none of these jobs would be possible without diving instructors to teach people how to use the apparatus and how to move through the water in the first place. They also teach people about dive safety and the importance of diving in twos, this is known as the buddy system and is utilised so that they can frequently check whether their partner is alright. Communication between divers consists of a series of hand signals which need to be learned before anyone attempts a dive. Therefore this instruction should be classed as one of the most important diving jobs of all.

Thanks Pete for this great little article – hope you enjoy your diving day.

A scuba diving experience is just one of the hundreds of interesting things to do outdoors that can be purchased as a gift or for yourself from My Outdoor Store. Follow the link to discover our vast selection of days out ideas.

Author's Bio: 

Bruno Blackstone is a freelance writer interested in all things to do with the outdoors and helping others get the most from the outdoors. Starting with a psychology degree his early career was as a social worker and family therapist working with families to help them achieve more positive and stable relationships. In his more recent career he has coached many senior executives in both small and large organisations in areas such as strategy, human resources, organisational design and performance improvement. He now continues his work in the business world but he is also co-owner of My Outdoor Store a price comparison site for outdoor enthusiasts.